United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
KUANG-BAO P. OU-YOUNG, Plaintiff,
LAWRENCE E. STONE, Santa Clara County Assessor; JEANETTE TONINI, Senior Assessment Clerk; EDWARD J. DAVILA, District Judge; and COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, Defendants.
ORDER REQUIRING THAT KUANG-BAO P. OU-YOUNG OBTAIN
LEAVE OF COURT BEFORE FILING ANY COMPLAINT AGAINST FEDERAL
LABSON FREEMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
December 20, 2013, District Judge Edward M. Chen issued an
order declaring Plaintiff Kuang-Bao P. Ou-Young to be a
vexatious litigant and directing pre-filing screening of any
complaint filed by Plaintiff involving certain statutes and
parties. See Vexatious Litigant Order, Case No.
13-cv-04442, ECF 40. In the six years following Judge
Chen's issuance of the Vexatious Litigant Order,
Plaintiff has filed more than two dozen meritless actions in
this district, many asserting claims against federal judges
based on their rulings.
also filed the present action in state court, naming District
Judge Edward J. Davila as a defendant along with the County
of Santa Clara and two County employees. See Notice
of Removal Exh. 4 (Complaint), ECF 1-4. Following removal of
the action to this district, the Court issued an Order to
Show Cause why the action should not be dismissed as to Judge
Davila based on judicial immunity, and why the pre-filing
screening requirement applicable to Plaintiff should not be
expanded to include claims against federal judges.
See OSC, ECF 15. Plaintiff timely responded to the
Order to Show Cause. See Pl.'s Response to OSC,
Court has dismissed Plaintiff's claims against Judge
Davila in a separate order. See Dismissal Order, ECF
25. The present order addresses the propriety of issuing an
order requiring pre-filing review of Plaintiff's future
complaints against federal judges. For the reasons discussed
below, the Court finds that such an order is warranted. The
Court therefore ORDERS that Kuang-Bao P. Ou-Young must obtain
leave of court before filing any complaint against federal
Chen's Vexatious Litigant Order
noted above, Judge Chen issued a Vexatious Litigant Order
regarding Plaintiff in 2013. See Vexatious Litigant
Order, Case No. 13-cv-04442, ECF 40. In that order, Judge
Chen discussed five civil cases that Plaintiff had filed in
this district against federal judges, federal agencies and
employees, and others, as well as a misconduct complaint that
Plaintiff had filed against a federal judge. See Id.
Judge Chen concluded that although the number of
Plaintiff's filings was not as great as in other
vexatious litigant cases, “the patently meritless
nature of his filings” warranted issuance of a
pre-filing review order. Id. at 13. Notably,
Plaintiff persisted in suing for violations of federal
criminal statutes despite being advised repeatedly that the
statutes do not provide a private right of action. See
Id. Judge Chen issued an order that was narrowly
tailored to require that “Plaintiff must obtain leave
of court before filing any further suits alleging any
violations of the federal criminal statutes, pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 1512(b), 18 U.S.C. § 1512 (c), and 18
U.S.C. § 371, and the FTCA, codified at 28 U.S.C. §
2671 et seq., involving parties that he named in the
current case, or Ou-Young I, Ou-Young II,
Ou-Young III, and Ou-Young IV, previously
filed in this Court.” Id. at 16-17.
Filings Since Judge Chen's Order
the Vexatious Litigant Order issued, Plaintiff has submitted
twenty-five complaints that have been subject to pre-filing
review. See Case Nos. 14-mc-80017-RMW;
14-mc-80030-JSW; 14-mc-80174-BLF; 14-mc-80214-EJD;
14-mc-80215-EJD; 14-mc-80306-LHK; 14-mc-80332-BLF;
14-mc-80335-BLF; 14-mc-80342-WHA; 14-mc-80343-WHA;
15-mc-80031-YGR; 15-mc-80033-EJD; 15-mc-80149-BLF;
15-mc-80151-EJD; 15-mc-80172-EJD; 15-mc-80180-VC;
15-mc-80185-VC; 15-mc-80192-EJD; 15-mc-80197-LHK;
15-mc-80235-EJD; 15-mc-80212-BLF; 19-mc-80254-EJD;
19-mc-80255-EJD. As discussed in more detail below, many of
those complaints asserted claims against federal judges.
that same period, Plaintiff filed multiple motions to
intervene, disqualify judges, and vacate orders in criminal
and civil actions to which he was not a party. See,
e.g., Case Nos. 14-cr-00196-CRB, ECF 344 (motion to
intervene in criminal proceeding); 14-cv-05142-LHK, ECF 95
(motion to intervene, to disqualify the assigned judge, to
vacate a court order, and for summary judgment); Case No.
17-cv-00574-WHO, ECF 84 (motion to intervene).
the motions to intervene, disqualify, and the like were
denied. See Case Nos. 14-cr-00196-CRB, ECF 345
(denying motion to intervene); 14-cv-05142-LHK, ECF 97
(denying motion to intervene, to disqualify the assigned
judge, to vacate a court order, and for summary judgment);
Case No. 17-cv-00574-WHO, ECF 85 (denying motion to
intervene). Plaintiff also was denied leave to file all but
two of the complaints listed above, on the basis that they
asserted claims involving statutes and parties specified in
Judge Chen's Vexatious Litigant Order and were without
the two most recent complaints screened in 2019, however,
leave to file was granted on the basis that the claims
asserted therein fell outside the scope of Judge Chen's
order. One complaint asserts claims against Ninth Circuit
Judges Edward Leavy, Consuelo M. Callahan, and Carlos T. Bea.
See Case No. 19-cv-07232-EJD (screened in Case No.
19-mc-80254-EJD). The judge assigned to that case has not yet
had occasion to determine whether the complaint states a
viable claim. That case is proceeding.
second complaint as to which leave to file was granted
asserts claims against the County of Santa Clara and County
employees. See Case No. 19-cv-07231-BLF (screened in
Case No. 19-mc-80255-EJD). That action is proceeding.
filed a third complaint in this district in 2019 that does
not appear to have been flagged for pre-filing review by the
Clerk's Office. See Case No. 19-cv-03049-EJD. A
civil case was opened based on the complaint, and Plaintiff
subsequently filed a first amended complaint. The district
court assigned to the case found that Plaintiff's claims
against federal district judges, circuit judges, United
States Supreme Court justices, and federal officials and
employees were without merit and dismissed the case with
prejudice. See id.
fourth 2019 complaint, which commenced the present action,
was filed in state court and removed to this district.
See Notice of Removal, ECF 1. The removal complaint
was not flagged for screening by the Clerk's Office. The
complaint alleges claims against Judge Davila, the County of
Santa Clara, and Santa Clara employees. As noted above,
Plaintiffs' claims against Judge Davila have been
dismissed. See Dismissal Order, ECF 25.
United States of America, appearing in this action as
amicus curiae, requests that the Court issue an
order requiring pre-filing review of all claims against
federal judges. See United States' Br. at 6, ECF
6-1. The United States argues that such an order is warranted
because Plaintiff has a documented propensity to sue federal
judges when he does not like their decisions, and the current
Vexatious Litigant Order does not cover Plaintiff's
recent suits against federal judges. See Id.
Plaintiff argues that expansion of the screening order would
deprive him of his Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial.
See Pl.'s Response to OSC, ECF 22.
All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), provides district
courts with the inherent power to enter pre-filing orders
against vexatious litigants.” Molski v. Evergreen
Dynasty Corp., 500 F.3d 1047, 1057 (9th Cir. 2007).
“Restricting access to the courts is, however, a
serious matter.” Ringgold-Lockhart v. Cty. of Los
Angeles, 761 F.3d 1057, 1061 (9th Cir. 2014).
“[T]he right of access to the courts is a fundamental
right protected by the Constitution, ” and
“[p]rofligate use of pre-filing orders could infringe
this important right.” Id. at 1061-62
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Thus,
“pre-filing orders should rarely be filed, ” and
only when certain requirements are met. De Long v.
Hennessey, 912 F.2d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 1990).
‘[f]lagrant abuse of the judicial process cannot be
tolerated because it enables one person to preempt the use of
judicial time that properly could be used to consider the
meritorious claims of other litigants.'”
Molski, 500 F.3d at 1057 (quoting De Long,
912 F.2d at 1148). A district court therefore has discretion